If you wanted a McDonald's burger in the spring of 1955, you needed to travel to Des Plaines, Illinois, and find the burger joint with the golden arches on the outside. Today, however, those arches mark more than 34,000 locations in 118 countries. Equally ubiquitous are the items on the restaurant's menu, which include the Chicken McNugget, the Happy Meal, the Egg McMuffin, and the Big Mac. In recent years, the restaurant has introduced healthier eats, such as its Premium Salads and Premium McWraps.
As it serves customers across the world, McDonald's continues to focus on local communities, whether it's through the company's Ronald McDonald House Charities or its quest for sustainability.
Patties of grass-fed beef, wild boar, and free-range chicken fill brioche buns at Bareburger, which eschews the added hormones commonly found in burger meat for locally sourced, all-natural ingredients. Fries cooked in 100% peanut oil complement bites of the Jalapeño Express burger's pepper jack cheese and chipotle ketchup or the Mediterranean's cool spread of cucumber-mint yogurt. Though Bareburger sources its meat and produce from sustainable farmers, its food isn’t the only reflection of its eco-conscious values: Trees felled in storms end up as hardwood tables in the dining room, whose tin-siding ceilings have been reclaimed from barns deconstructed during philosophers' countryside lectures.
Baluchi's chefs sweep regional and classic Indian cuisines into a comprehensive menu of hearty meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes. At the heart of the kitchen, a traditional tandoor oven works overtime to bake entrees, such as a whole red snapper or lamb chops, and fresh naan and paratha breads. Meanwhile, chefs simmer seafood curries in creamy coconut milk and top off feasts with scoops of housemade ice cream flavored with mango or pistachio. Though Baluchi's offers delivery, patrons who appear at the eatery treat their senses to a feast: clusters of colorful baubles cast light on shiny hardwood benches and a bar, backdropped by vibrant paintings.
At Cocina Latina, executive chef and owner Chris Dreams brings together culinary specialties from the world's Latin countries. He pays homage to traditional Spanish cooking with arroz con pollo, a dish that gains its flavor from a secret sofrito sauce known only by the chef and his spoon. To showcase the popular dishes of Central and South America, Dreams prepares fresh salmon ceviche, meat-stuffed empanadas, and Cuban-style mini burgers. Dreams' primarily old-world menu complements the dining room's rustic ambiance. Darkly stained wooden tables line up along sandstone-colored walls that reach to high ceilings with dimly lit chandeliers.
No matter what the calendar reads, it’s always October in spirit at Manor Oktoberfest, a German-style eatery that channels Munich’s lively fest of the same name. Owner Mark Gallagher serves Bavarian fare that ranges from traditional appetizers—including smoked black forest bacon and pierogies—to hearty entrees such as a variety of wursts and Hungarian schnitzel. It wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without a lot of beer, and the restaurant carries more than 30 varieties. Draught beers, including Hofbrau Original and Franziskaner Weissbier, come in half-liter or one-liter mugs, or in a two-liter boot if you’ve also lost one shoe.
Using strictly kosher ingredients, Burgers Plus's patty perfectionists form perfect circles of beef and lamb before tossing each to sizzle on the grill alongside slabs of chicken and portobello mushrooms. As pillowy buns crown each burger, an array of internationally inspired schnitzel recipes nestle into their own bread bundles. Meanwhile, a host of sauces such as garlic mayo, sweet chili, and thousand island add a burst of flavor to each sizzling morsel. The burger haven keeps its doors open until midnight, letting beef buffs sate cravings at any hour without joining the Hamburglar's nefarious patty cartel.